Warning Signs of Withdrawal & Protracted Withdrawal

Warning Signs of Withdrawal Protracted Withdrawal

When our bodies have become acclimated to steady use of alcohol, we may experience something called “withdrawal” when we reduce or cease use. Withdrawal is your body weaning off its reliance on a substance, and can be experienced even when removing more innocent substances like coffee or sugar.

The symptoms of withdrawal can range from mild discomfort to serious complications depending on length and level of alcohol use, and withdrawal is important to consider before changing our alcohol consumption. In some cases, assisted medical detox is helpful or necessary to ease symptoms and ensure safe step-down from alcohol. Alcohol withdrawal can lead to death in very advanced cases, so if you believe you are at risk for serious complications, it is very important to consult with a medical professional.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, general withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Shakiness

  • Digestive upset or loss of appetite

  • Headaches

  • Sweating

  • Anxiety

  • Insomnia

  • Fatigue

  • Depression and irritability

In addition to these symptoms listed above, alcohol withdrawal may include more serious symptoms such as:

  • Heart palpitations

  • Hallucinations

  • Seizures

  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

Delirium tremens (DTs) is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal that may take several days after alcohol cessation to manifest. It is a result of the brain’s inability to properly adjust its chemistry following prolonged alcohol exposure, and symptoms include confusion, changes in blood circulation and breathing, extreme agitation or hyperactivity, and fever.

It is imperative to seek medical attention if any of these more serious symptoms are experienced, as these complications can be fatal. Assisted medical detox can help ease the symptoms of withdrawal and monitor you for more serious complications. These acute withdrawal symptoms typically lessen within two weeks of cessation.